Wonders of Madeira
Macaronesian islands – Azores, Canary Islands, Cabo Verde, and Madeira – are like messengers from a better, brighter and more interesting world. Madeira represents almost all (without archaeological heritage which is present only in the Canary Islands) of their beauty: mountains, beautiful scenery, subtropical forest and wealth of European architectural heritage. Most interesting landmark – or rather a complex of landmarks – is the unique forest in the central part of the largest island – world’s largest laurel forest.
Map with the described wonders
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Top 23 wonders of Madeira
Câmara de Lobos
A prominent cliff face, rising up to 589 m high directly from the ocean. Cliff is some 3 km wide. At the foot of the cliff in some places is a narrow strip of land with terraced fields – Fajãs de Cabo Girão.
Former quarry of basalt with impressive formations of hexagonal basalt.
Some 110 m tall waterfall falls along the steep seaside cliffs directly into the ocean. Wind often blows the falls sideways.
Ponta do Sol
90 m tall waterfall that often pours on the roofs of cars driving along the sea.
Approximately 100 m tall waterfall.
Approximately 140 m tall waterfall that slides down along a nearly vertical cliff.
Beautiful, nearly vertical waterfall high in the mountains, in a pristine forest.
Some 100 m tall waterfall that slides down along nearly vertical cliff.
More than 1,000 m long lava caves with some 700 m long trail for tourists. Caves include Volcano Center – a visitor center explaining the geological history of caves.
More than 100 m tall waterfall at the sea. The stream is sliding down along a very steep cliff.
Group of waterfalls from springs, falling into a pool. Falls are up to 30 m high.
Unique, roughly 150 km² large subtropical humid forest, a remnant of once widespread forests. The most impressive subtropical forest in Europe and the largest laurisilva forest in the world. Here live some 600 endemic species of plants and animals. The pristine forest is crossed by old waterways and pathways between villages.
Giant til tree (Ocotea foetens) with a height of 37 m and circumference of 13.80 m. In this location are some of the largest and oldest laurel trees.
Small Desertas Islands have numerous unique species. On Deserta Grande lives the largest European tarantula – 4.5 cm long body as well as an enormous carrot and 14 species of endemic snails in unusual colors.
One of the oldest structures in Madeira, built in Gothic style in the 1490ies – 1518.
Ornate church in Mannerist and Portuguese Baroque styles, built by Jesuits in 1629 – 1647, fully completed in the middle of the 18th century. The interior of the church is ornate, even sumptuous.
The historical and present main city in Madeira started to develop around 1424. The narrow streets often are adorned with beautiful Portuguese stone sidewalks and lined with numerous historical buildings.
Stone walled agricultural fields on a narrow land strip between 400 m tall cliffs and ocean.
One of the most daring airport structures in the world – a runway that was built partly on an artificial platform. This platform is elevated on 180 columns that rise 70 m from the sea and also above a highway.
One of the most impressive fortresses on the island, built to protect Madeira from pirates. Construction was started around 1601 and lasted until 1640. Impressive is the enormous water tank cut in the cliff.
A house where Christopher Columbus and his wife lived at the end of the 15th century before Columbus discovered America. Now here is a museum.
This fort was built at the seaside in the 16th – 17th century and is preserved in a very good state.
This beautiful chapel was built in the 15th – 16th century. The main value is the exquisite interior, especially the numerous paintings on the ceiling.
Every island thrives on its clichés. The name Madeira stands for a heavy drop of wine that might have had its time a long time ago, yet is still praised by many a connoisseur. The island’s all-year-round mild climate helped Madeira be awarded the decorative suffix »floating floral island in the Atlantic«. Bird of paradise and torch lilies, daisies, and hydrangea leaves no doubt: Madeira is rich in flowers like no other island.
THE guide to Madeira for more than 30 years and a winner of the Thomas Cook Best Travel Guide Award, this book is by far the most heavily reviewed guide on Amazon, with 86 reviews for the previous edition. It guides the visitor across the island by car and on foot. But it is primarily known as a walking guide. The ‘Sunday Times’ said, ‘A remarkable paperback which may have done more than any other to change the way its readers spend their holidays: this book single-handedly turned levada-walking into something approaching a craze.’